On Saturday, I attended the funeral of a woman with whom I grew up. I was telling a girlfriend of mine, and she said, “Oh! So she was young?” I realized this wasn’t quite the right wording to use.
I’ve belonged to my church for about 28 years. My family became members when my father was called to be their pastor in 1981.
The church welcomed my family with open arms, and many members who I considered old when I was twelve are still there. They have watched me attend youth group as a teenager, singing songs in front of the church with a guitar, trying to teach “contemporary” music to the congregation. (When you are singing songs that were written in the 60’s but it is the 80’s, is that really contemporary?) They gave gifts appropriate for a pastor’s daughter. (What ever happened to my “praying hands” nightlight? Hmm….) They gave advice appropriate for a pastor’s daughter. (You’re going to school at the public high school?)
They welcomed me back during summers of my college years, and then missed me in my twenties when I went through a period of churchlessness.
When I started going to church more regularly, it was as if I had never been gone. When I started to date a fellow member, they thought, “It’s about time those two got together!” and “When will the wedding be?”
They witnessed my marriage, the baptisms of my two girls, and they exclaim, “Oh! Your girls are growing up so fast!”
And some of the older members don’t come to church very often any more. They don’t always remember who I am when they see me. Sadly, some of them have already passed away.
The woman whose funeral we attended on Saturday always gripped my elbow firmly when she spoke to me. She wore a variety of huge cross necklaces; she was cantankerous; no one ever wondered what her true opinion was. She was involved in everything at one time or another. The church was her home. Shortly after her 90th birthday, she was taken to her new home.
Strangely enough, that afternoon we went to a celebration for a little girl turning one.
What a beautiful day!